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US Lacrosse Create Steps to Return to Safe Play


SPARKS, Md. — US Lacrosse has announced a set of return to play recommendations to assist the lacrosse community in following the appropriate steps to mitigate the risk for all participants in the COVID-19 environment.

The recommendations were developed by a medical advisory committee, chaired by Dr. Eugene Hong, chair of the US Lacrosse Sport Science & Safety Committee. The group consists of top medical professionals across multiple disciplines with strong connections to the sport. Additional input was provided by sport, event and legal and risk advisory groups representing every facet of the sport — coaches, officials, youth leagues, clubs and event operators.

“US Lacrosse’s return to play recommendations were developed to serve as an athlete-health centric resource to help the lacrosse community respond to and minimize risks associated with COVID-19 when returning to lacrosse activities and events,” Hong said.

“Our guiding principles for this paper were to compile and use relevant scientific research and follow the COVID-19 public health guidance provided by the CDC, WHO and other state and local public health authorities. These recommendations provide a strong foundation for lacrosse programs to plan for a gradual return; the guidance will most certainly evolve over time as information about COVID-19 remains fluid and every community will be at a different phase of return, during this pandemic.”

“We have greatly appreciated the guidance and leadership provided by our medical experts as well as the sport, event and legal advisors, whose involvement in this US Lacrosse work group, enabled us to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations designed to help the lacrosse community make good decisions about safely returning to the lacrosse field during these unprecedented and challenging times.” Said, Ann Kitt Carpenetti, VP of Lacrosse Operations for US Lacrosse.

US Lacrosse will host a free webinar on Monday, June 1 at 11:30 a.m. (Eastern) to discuss the recommendations and answer questions from the lacrosse community. The webinar will feature the following panelists:

  • Ann Kitt Carpenetti, VP, Lacrosse Operations, US Lacrosse
  • Richard Hinton, MD, MedStar Sports Medicine, Baltimore, Md.
  • Eugene Hong, MD, MUSC Health, Charleston, S.C.
  • Karen Sutton, MD, Hospital of Special Surgery, New York, N.Y.

To register for the webinar, please visit:

The return to play guidelines follow a five-stage process that will vary regionally based on recommendations and allowances from local and state public health authorities.

Stage 1 is for at-home training when aligned with state/local public health guidelines that do not permit or recommend any-size group gathering, outside of family members, in any public setting.

Stage 2 is for small group (less than 10) modified lacrosse activity or practice at an outdoor facility and is aligned with state/ local public health guidelines that allow for small (under 10) group gatherings in a public or private setting. Social distancing requirements are in effect for all aspects of the training.

Stage 3 is for medium group (less than 50) modified intra-squad scrimmages/ practices with limited closeness and contact at an outdoor facility. This stage is aligned with state/local public health guidelines that allow for under 10 people to gather in groups indoors at a time or up to 50 people to gather outdoors at a time.

Stage 4 is for medium group (less than 50) local competition/practices from teams within same locale, with limited closeness and contact at outdoor or indoor facilities and no multi-team events This is aligned with state/local public health guidelines that allow for up to 50 people, to gather indoors or outdoors.

Stage 5 is for larger group gatherings (more than 50) and full competition resumption with multiple teams from varied geographic areas. This is aligned with state/local public health guidelines that allow for groups larger than 50.

In addition to the staged guidelines, here are some of the key recommendations regardless of stage:

All participants should stay at home if they are feeling sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and equipment and do not share equipment, water bottles or towels.

If capability exists, temperature of participants should be taken using an infrared thermometer. Anyone with a temperature of 100.3 degrees or more should be sent home and evaluated by a licensed medical professional before being cleared to participate.

Any tasks that can be done at home, should be done at home (recovery sessions, online meetings) in order to maximize the effectiveness of the time together.

Before returning to practice, it’s imperative to conduct, at a minimum, a two-week period of guided athletic skills training. Athletes are more susceptible to injury following the extended downtime caused by the pandemic.

Face masks are required for staff, coaches, officials and designated adults serving as hygiene support for all practices and activities. Athletes may wear a face mask during lacrosse activity.

As stages progress, consider competition formats that allow for fewer players on the field to help mitigate risk.

Consider game play modifications for aspects of boys’ and girls’ games to minimize higher risk activities by limiting extended closeness and contact between athletes.